Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
Title 28.2. Fisheries and Habitat of the Tidal Waters
1/23/2019

Chapter 6. Planting Grounds.

Article 1. Riparian Oyster-Planting Grounds.

§ 28.2-600. Riparian planting ground assignments; eligibility; fee.

Any owner of land bordering on a body of water in the oyster-growing area of this Commonwealth whose shore front measures at least 205 feet at the low-water mark, who has not had as much as one-half acre of ground already assigned him on the front, or whose lease has terminated and is not to be renewed, may apply for planting grounds to the Commissioner. The Commissioner shall assign to him such ground wherever the owner may designate within his riparian waters, provided the ground does not encroach into an existing oyster-planting ground lease assigned under Article 2 (§ 28.2-603 et seq.) of this chapter. The fee for such assignment shall be $1.50. Such ground shall not exceed one-half acre, and shall not be less than 105 feet wide along the shore, beginning at low-water mark, extending out not more than 210 feet, or to the middle of the channel or body of water, whichever is the shorter distance. The grounds shall be surveyed, plotted, marked, assigned, and recorded as provided for assignments to persons in Article 2 (§ 28.2-603 et seq.) of this chapter. Any riparian assignment that was duly recorded in the clerk's office of the county or city where the grounds are located, or at the Commission office prior to July 1, 1986, shall continue in effect.

Code 1950, §§ 28-39, 28-123; 1950, p. 987; 1952, c. 649; 1956, c. 586; 1958, c. 184; 1960, c. 517; 1962, c. 406, §§ 28.1-44, 28.1-108; 1964, c. 393; 1968, c. 747; 1972, c. 644; 1976, c. 256; 1978, c. 548; 1984, cc. 100, 244, 259; 1986, cc. 168, 184; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-601. Riparian assignments; entitlements; obligations.

The riparian leaseholder shall have the exclusive right to the use of such ground for planting or gathering oysters and clams.

The assignment made pursuant to § 28.2-600 shall pass with the transfer of the adjacent highland to the subsequent owner of highland and cannot be held separated from the highland. A transfer of highland ownership shall require a transfer of the riparian assignment within eighteen months after the transfer of the highland ownership under the following conditions:

1. The application for transfer shall be in the form prescribed by the Commission and shall be filed with the Commissioner.

2. The Commissioner shall require a new survey if there is not a survey of the exact parcel or parcels of grounds to be transferred.

3. The cost of any new surveys required under this section shall be borne by the person making the transfer, and the cost and fees shall be the same as for surveys of general oyster-planting ground.

4. The application shall be accompanied by a transfer fee of five dollars.

5. The Commissioner shall return the approved application for transfer and plat with any correction to the applicant. A copy of the transfer and plat shall be recorded at the Commissioner's office.

6. If no application for transfer is received by the Commissioner within eighteen months after the transfer of the highland ownership, the riparian assignment shall become vacant and open to assignment.

Code 1950, § 28-123; 1950, p. 987; 1956, c. 586; 1958, c. 184; 1960, c. 517; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-108; 1964, c. 393; 1968, c. 747; 1972, c. 644; 1976, c. 256; 1978, c. 548; 1984, cc. 100, 244, 259; 1986, c. 168; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-602. Riparian assignments; special terms and conditions.

The provisions of this article apply to all Virginia counties and cities bordering on bodies of water in oyster-growing areas, except they shall not apply to riparian lands located above the James River bridge in the James River or its tributaries. In any Virginia county or city where more than one-half acre of ground per waterfront tract has been assigned to a riparian owner, the ground in excess of one-half acre shall be ground held under a regular lease and assignment, and not a riparian assignment.

For Northampton County, however, § 6 of Chapter 254 of the 1883-1884 Acts of Assembly, not this article, shall govern the quantity of land to be assigned to and held by riparian owners. Nothing in this article authorizes a rental of a lesser amount per acre than that provided by law for riparian owners in Northampton County of the land assigned them as such riparian owners. Nothing in the section which restores to riparian owners in Northampton County one-fourth of their waterfronts suitable for planting oysters, permits the owners of waterfronts to compel occupants of the fronts to remove their oysters from any fourth of the shores, if the residue of the shore is already in the landowner's possession or is unoccupied.

Riparian landowners may erect wharves, landings, or other structures as otherwise permitted by law.

Code 1950, § 28-123; 1950, p. 987; 1956, c. 586; 1958, c. 184; 1960, c. 517; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-108; 1964, c. 393; 1968, c. 747; 1972, c. 644; 1976, c. 256; 1978, c. 548; 1984, cc. 100, 244, 259; 1986, c. 168; 1992, c. 836.

Article 2. General Oyster-Planting Grounds.

§ 28.2-603. General oyster planting grounds.

Waterfront that is not already assigned or reserved for the riparian owners, and the beds of the bays, rivers, and creeks and shores of the sea lying outside the limits of navigation projects adopted and authorized by the Congress and not required for the disposal of materials dredged incident to the maintenance of such projects, and grounds other than public oyster beds, rocks, or shoals, as defined by law and included in the Baylor survey, may be occupied for the purpose of planting or propagating oysters, including the use of temporary protective enclosures in compliance with this chapter and Commission regulations, and may be leased by the Commissioner upon the receipt of a proper application.

Code 1950, § 28-124; 1954, c. 352; 1958, c. 183; 1960, c. 517; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-109(1); 1964, c. 393; 1966, c. 684; 1970, c. 726; 1972, c. 644; 1973, c. 14; 1978, cc. 546, 548; 1980, cc. 34, 609; 1984, c. 259; 1986, c. 171; 1992, c. 836; 2007, cc. 28, 170; 2010, c. 27; 2011, c. 314.

§ 28.2-603.1. Temporary enclosures on leased ground.

The Commission shall, pursuant to its authority to regulate marine fisheries and commercial fishing, establish a general permit regulation authorizing the use of temporary protective enclosures to grow shellfish on grounds leased pursuant to § 28.2-603. In developing the general permit, the Commission shall consider those factors set forth in subsection A of § 28.2-1205. In addition to such other requirements as the Commission may prescribe for the protection of public safety, navigation, natural resources, and the environment, the general permit shall include the following provisions:

1. Leaseholders shall comply with any Commission requirements pertaining to aquaculture licensing;

2. Enclosures shall be constructed of nontoxic materials;

3. Leaseholders shall not place enclosures (i) in or upon submerged aquatic vegetation, (ii) in any marked navigation channel or in any other area that would create a hazard, or (iii) in any area that would impede customary access to navigable waters from any riparian property, public or commercial landing, or marina facility;

4. The location of enclosures shall be clearly marked to alert boaters and to allow the leaseholder or other authorized persons to retrieve the enclosures if necessary. The general permit regulation shall specify acceptable means and devices for complying with this requirement;

5. Leaseholders shall maintain a list identifying those leases on which enclosures are placed during the term of the lease and provide, upon request, a current copy of the list to authorized representatives of the Commission. Leaseholders shall also submit such list to be filed with any application for lease renewal made pursuant to § 28.2-613;

6. Leaseholders shall promptly remove any enclosure that is not actively in use for the planting and propagating of shellfish, and, upon expiration or termination of a lease or of the leaseholder's aquaculture license, the leaseholder shall promptly remove all enclosures placed on the leasehold; and

7. At his discretion, the Commissioner may order the removal or relocation of any enclosure that interferes with navigation, creates a hazard, or otherwise fails to comply with the conditions of the general permit.

2007, cc. 28, 170.

§ 28.2-603.2. Commissioner to provide notice.

A. At least 30 days before placing temporary protective enclosures on a leasehold pursuant to § 28.2-603.1, the leaseholder shall provide written notification to the Commissioner that identifies the leasehold, the approximate maximum number of enclosures to be placed on the leasehold at any given time, and the estimated date such placement will begin. No later than 30 days after receiving such notification, the Commissioner may publish notice of the proposed placement in a newspaper of general circulation serving the area in which the leasehold is located. In determining whether to publish such notice, the Commissioner shall consider the potential effect on existing uses of waters proximate to the leasehold and the potential for conflict between the proposed placement and such uses. The public notice shall invite written comment on the proposed placement and include information concerning the submission of written comments. The Commission may receive written comments for no more than 30 days following publication of notice.

B. If, on the basis of written comments, the Commissioner finds significant and substantive opposition from persons residing on or using the waters proximate to the leasehold, the Commissioner shall convene a public meeting on the proposal no more than 30 days after the close of the comment period. No later than 15 days after the public meeting, the Commissioner shall (i) approve the proposal, (ii) approve the proposal with conditions, or (iii) deny the proposal. If the Commissioner denies the proposal, the leaseholder may request approval of the proposal before a hearing of the Commission.

C. If the Commissioner determines not to publish public notice, the Commissioner shall, no later than 30 days after receiving written notification of the proposal, advise the leaseholder to proceed in accordance with the requirements of the general permit. If the Commissioner publishes public notice but does not find significant and substantive opposition by persons residing on or using the waters to the leasehold, the Commissioner shall, no later than 15 days after the close of the comment period, advise the leaseholder to proceed in accordance with the requirements of the general permit.

2007, cc. 28, 170.

§ 28.2-604. Eligible applicants.

Application for assignment of general oyster-planting ground may be made by (i) any resident of the Commonwealth, (ii) any county, municipality, or political subdivision of the Commonwealth, or (iii) any firm, or corporation chartered under the laws of this Commonwealth for the purpose of oyster culture and the oyster business provided that at least sixty percent of the stock of any such corporation is wholly owned by residents of the Commonwealth.

Code 1950, § 28-124; 1954, c. 352; 1958, c. 183; 1960, c. 517; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-109(2); 1964, c. 393; 1966, c. 684; 1970, c. 726; 1972, c. 644; 1973, c. 14; 1978, cc. 546, 548; 1980, cc. 34, 609; 1984, c. 259; 1986, c. 171; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-605. Application for assignment.

All applications for assignment of general oyster-planting grounds shall be made in writing, in duplicate, to the Commission. Applications shall be considered in the same order in which they are received, except that no application for any ground then under lease shall be valid for that portion under lease. The application shall state, as nearly as possible, the number of acres applied for and definite location, with the name of one or more prominent points or objects adjacent to such ground. It shall be the duty of any resident, firm, or corporation desiring to obtain a location for planting or propagating oysters to apply to have the location determined, designated, surveyed, and assigned.

Code 1950, § 28-124; 1954, c. 352; 1958, c. 183; 1960, c. 517; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-109(3); 1964, c. 393; 1966, c. 684; 1970, c. 726; 1972, c. 644; 1973, c. 14; 1978, cc. 546, 548; 1980, cc. 34, 609; 1984, c. 259; 1986, c. 171; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-606. Notice of application.

A. Notice of the application shall be posted by the Commission for not less than 30 days on its website. The Commission shall provide by registered or certified mail written notice of its receipt of the application to (i) the mailing address of the holder of a current lease for any oyster planting ground that is contiguous to the ground applied for, and (ii) the last known address, as shown on the current real estate tax assessment book or records, of the owner of any riparian property located within 200 feet of the ground applied for. The provision of notice to the governing board of an association for a common interest community as defined in § 55-528 shall be deemed adequate to notify all associated unit owners or lot owners.

B. The Commission shall publish notice of the application at least once a week for two consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the area in which the ground applied for lies.

C. Notice provided pursuant to this section shall invite and provide information about the submission of written comments on the application. The cost of the notice required by this section shall be borne by the applicant.

Code 1950, § 28-124; 1954, c. 352; 1958, c. 183; 1960, c. 517; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-109(4); 1964, c. 393; 1966, c. 684; 1970, c. 726; 1972, c. 644; 1973, c. 14; 1978, cc. 546, 548; 1980, cc. 34, 609; 1984, c. 259; 1992, c. 836; 2017, cc. 250, 798.

§ 28.2-607. Survey and marking of ground.

If a protest is not filed in the Commission office within sixty days after posting of the notice of application, the Commissioner shall select a surveyor to survey the grounds and make a plat in duplicate. The surveyor shall forward the plat of survey to the Commissioner. If no protest to the application or surveying of ground is made within thirty days after the plat of survey is recorded in the Commissioner's office, the ground applied for shall be assigned provided that:

1. The application and assignment complies with all applicable provisions of law and, in the judgment of the Commissioner, the assignment is in the public interest.

2. All fees, costs, and the annual rent have been paid for the lease of the ground. The ground shall be marked at the expense of the applicant.

The grounds shall be marked in accordance with Commission regulations for marking oyster grounds.

Code 1950, § 28-124; 1954, c. 352; 1958, c. 183; 1960, c. 517; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-109(6); 1964, c. 393; 1966, c. 684; 1970, c. 726; 1972, c. 644; 1973, c. 14; 1978, cc. 546, 548; 1980, cc. 34, 609; 1984, c. 259; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-608. Application, surveying, and recording fees.

Any applicant for general oyster-planting ground or for riparian oyster ground shall pay (i) an application fee of twenty-five dollars; (ii) the Commission's surveying costs including the cost of the survey and of preparing the original and one copy of the plat; and (iii) the cost of recording each assignment or transfer and plat in the Commission office. The fee for recording each assignment shall be $1.50. No ground shall be assigned until all the prescribed fees have been paid.

Code 1950, §§ 28-39, 28-124; 1952, c. 649; 1954, c. 352; 1958, c. 183; 1960, c. 517; 1962, c. 406, §§ 28.1-44, 28.1-109(7); 1964, c. 393; 1966, c. 684; 1970, c. 726; 1972, c. 644; 1973, c. 14; 1978, cc. 546, 548; 1980, cc. 34, 609; 1984, c. 259; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-609. Restrictions on assigned acreage and applications.

No assignment, except in the Chesapeake Bay, shall exceed 250 acres. An applicant, after having 250 acres of general oyster-planting ground assigned to him, shall not apply for another assignment of oyster grounds within six months from the day his assignment was recorded and completed. If an assignment is not made within six months after the expiration of the notice, the application shall, upon the expiration of six months, lapse and become void, unless the Commissioner allows an extension. When a protest has been filed with the Commission against the granting of an application, the application shall not lapse until the Commission has finally acted upon the application.

Code 1950, § 28-124; 1954, c. 352; 1958, c. 183; 1960, c. 517; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-109(8); 1964, c. 393; 1966, c. 684; 1970, c. 726; 1972, c. 644; 1973, c. 14; 1978, cc. 546, 548; 1980, cc. 34, 609; 1984, c. 259; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-610. Restriction on acreage owned or operated.

No person shall own or operate more than 3,000 acres of general oyster-planting grounds in the waters of this Commonwealth other than in the Chesapeake Bay. If ground in excess of 3,000 acres is acquired, the person has a right to lawfully hold the ground for one year and shall have a legal right to assign it. If no assignment is made within one year, the ground in excess of 3,000 acres shall revert to the Commonwealth and may be applied for by any person having a legal right to do so.

Code 1950, § 28-124; 1954, c. 352; 1958, c. 183; 1960, c. 517; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-109(9); 1964, c. 393; 1966, c. 684; 1970, c. 726; 1972, c. 644; 1973, c. 14; 1978, cc. 546, 548; 1980, cc. 34, 609; 1984, c. 259; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-611. Application for general planting ground in Chesapeake Bay; acreage allowed; annual rental.

Application for general planting ground in the Chesapeake Bay in waters from fifteen feet deep or more shall be made to the Commissioner. The Commissioner shall have the right to accept or reject any application. No more than 5,000 acres may be assigned to any applicant. The assignment shall not interfere with the established fishing rights. Any such application, surveying, and marking shall conform to the law pertaining to oyster-planting grounds. The annual rent per acre in the Chesapeake Bay shall be determined by the Commission, but in no case shall be less than seventy-five cents annually per acre.

Code 1950, § 28-124; 1954, c. 352; 1958, c. 183; 1960, c. 517; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-109(10); 1964, c. 393; 1966, c. 684; 1970, c. 726; 1972, c. 644; 1973, c. 14; 1978, cc. 546, 548; 1980, cc. 34, 609; 1984, c. 259; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-612. Payment of annual rental; penalty for default.

The applicant shall pay to the Commission annual rent of $1.50 per acre or any fraction thereof, except as provided for the Chesapeake Bay and for bathing ground. Such payment shall be due on September 1 of each year after the date of assignment, plus a ten percent penalty if not paid on or before December 5.

Code 1950, § 28-124; 1954, c. 352; 1958, c. 183; 1960, c. 517; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-109(11); 1964, c. 393; 1966, c. 684; 1970, c. 726; 1972, c. 644; 1973, c. 14; 1978, cc. 546, 548; 1980, cc. 34, 609; 1984, c. 259; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-613. Duration of lease.

Each assignment of general oyster-planting ground shall continue in force for ten years from the date of assignment, unless the assignment is terminated; however, assignments issued between July 1, 1976, and July 1, 1980, shall continue in force for twenty years from the date of assignment. The interest in such ground is chattel real.

Upon the death of the renter, testate as to the lease, it shall vest in the named beneficiary subject to the rights of creditors, if he is a resident of this Commonwealth, provided that he files an application for transfer with the Commission within eighteen months after the date of death. If the named beneficiary is not a resident he shall have eighteen months after the date of death to transfer the lease to a qualified holder.

Upon the death of the renter, intestate as to the lease, the lease shall vest in the personal representative, who shall transfer the lease to a qualified holder within eighteen months.

If there is no qualification on the renter's estate within one year of his death, the Commission may within six months thereafter transfer the lease to a qualified holder upon receipt of a transfer duly executed by all of the lawful heirs of the renter.

If there is no transfer under any of the above, the ground shall become vacant and open to assignment.

Upon expiration of the initial or any subsequent term of the assignment, the Commission shall, on application of the holder, renew the assignment for an additional ten-year term. The Commission shall not renew or extend an assignment where there has been no significant production of oysters or clams, no reasonable plantings of oysters, clams or cultch or no significant oyster or clam aquaculture operation, during any portion of the ten-year period immediately prior to the application for renewal, unless the Commission finds that there was good cause for the failure to produce or plant oysters, clams or cultch or finds that the assignment is directly related to and beneficial to the production of oyster-planting grounds immediately adjacent to the assignment. In determining whether there was good cause for the failure to produce or plant oysters, clams, or cultch, in addition to other factors, the Commission shall consider the prevalence of the diseases MSX and Dermo, and whether the oyster-planting ground has traditionally produced commercial quantities of oysters or clams.

Code 1950, § 28-124; 1954, c. 352; 1958, c. 183; 1960, c. 517; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-109(12); 1964, c. 393; 1966, c. 684; 1970, c. 726; 1972, c. 644; 1973, c. 14; 1978, cc. 546, 548; 1980, cc. 34, 609; 1984, c. 259; 1992, c. 836; 1996, c. 985; 1997, c. 259.

§ 28.2-614. Requiring lessee or transferor to have ground surveyed and plat recorded; canceling lease for failure of lessee to have survey.

If the Commissioner determines that in any past assignment of or in any attempt to transfer oyster ground, a survey, or a recorded plat, does not accurately describe the metes and bounds of the leased ground, the Commissioner shall require the lessee, the transferor, or both to have the ground surveyed and the plat recorded.

If the lessee fails to order the survey or resurvey within six months after date of notification to the lessee or transferor, by certified mail, the Commissioner shall cancel the lease and may accept applications for this ground from the general public.

Code 1950, § 28-124; 1954, c. 352; 1958, c. 183; 1960, c. 517; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-109(12b); 1964, c. 393; 1966, c. 684; 1970, c. 726; 1972, c. 644; 1973, c. 14; 1978, cc. 546, 548; 1980, cc. 34, 609; 1984, c. 259; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-615. Payment of costs for service, etc.

The cost of the surveys and recording fees required by § 28.2-614 shall be borne by the lessee or transferor and the cost and fees shall be the same as for surveys made by the Commission.

Code 1950, § 28-124; 1954, c. 352; 1958, c. 183; 1960, c. 517; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-109(12c); 1964, c. 393; 1966, c. 684; 1970, c. 726; 1972, c. 644; 1973, c. 14; 1978, cc. 546, 548; 1980, cc. 34, 609; 1984, c. 259; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-616. Possession gives no preference as to assignment.

Any person in possession of any general oyster-planting ground which has not been assigned according to law shall have no preference as to having it assigned to him. The ground shall be open to the first applicant.

Code 1950, § 28-124; 1954, c. 352; 1958, c. 183; 1960, c. 517; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-109(13); 1964, c. 393; 1966, c. 684; 1970, c. 726; 1972, c. 644; 1973, c. 14; 1978, cc. 546, 548; 1980, cc. 34, 609; 1984, c. 259; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-617. Recordation of plat.

The plat and assignment, as soon as practicable after completion, and after the ground has been assigned to the applicant, shall be filed for record in the office of the Commission.

Code 1950, § 28-124; 1954, c. 352; 1958, c. 183; 1960, c. 517; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-109(14); 1964, c. 393; 1966, c. 684; 1970, c. 726; 1972, c. 644; 1973, c. 14; 1978, cc. 546, 548; 1980, cc. 34, 609; 1984, c. 259; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-618. Commonwealth guarantees rights of renter subject to right of fishing.

The Commonwealth shall guarantee to any person who has complied with ground assignment requirements the absolute right to continue to use and occupy the ground for the term of the lease, subject to:

1. Section 28.2-613;

2. Riparian rights;

3. The right of fishing in waters above the bottoms, provided (i) that no person exercising the right of fishing shall use any device which is fixed to the bottom, or which, in any way, interferes with the renter's rights or damages the bottoms, or the oysters planted thereon, and (ii) that crab pots and gill nets which are not staked to the bottom shall not be considered devices which are fixed to the bottom unless the crab pots and gill nets are used over planted oyster beds in waters of less than four feet at mean low water on the seaside of Northampton and Accomack Counties;

4. Established fishing stands, but only if the fishing stand license fee is timely received from the existing licensee of the fishing stand and no new applicant shall have priority over the oyster lease. However, a fishing stand location assigned prior to the lease of the oyster ground is a vested interest, a chattel real, and an inheritable right which may be transferred or assigned whenever the current licensee complies with all existing laws; and

5. (Expires July 1, 2019) Municipal dredging projects located in the Lynnhaven River or its creeks and tributaries, including dredging projects to restore existing navigation channels in areas approved by the Commission. Such projects shall be limited to grounds that are condemned, restricted, or otherwise nonproductive. The locality shall compensate the lessee for the use of the ground, and if the parties cannot agree on a compensation amount, a court of competent jurisdiction shall determine the value of the ground as of the date it is first disturbed.

Code 1950, § 28-124; 1954, c. 352; 1958, c. 183; 1960, c. 517; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-109(15); 1964, c. 393; 1966, c. 684; 1970, c. 726; 1972, c. 644; 1973, c. 14; 1978, cc. 546, 548; 1980, cc. 34, 609; 1984, c. 259; 1992, c. 836; 2017, cc. 365, 529.

§ 28.2-619. When leases become vacant.

When the Commission finds that a lessee is dead or unknown, and no one claims such property as an heir or assignee, the ground shall become vacant and open to assignment.

Code 1950, § 28-124; 1954, c. 352; 1958, c. 183; 1960, c. 517; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-109(16); 1964, c. 393; 1966, c. 684; 1970, c. 726; 1972, c. 644; 1973, c. 14; 1978, cc. 546, 548; 1980, cc. 34, 609; 1984, c. 259; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-620. Delinquent ground.

Any ground or area which becomes delinquent shall be open and available to be leased, after the following conditions have been met:

1. The Commissioner has notified the person in writing on or about September 1 of that year of the amount of rent due;

2. If the rent becomes delinquent, the Commissioner has mailed a second notice by certified mail on or about June 1 of the following year; and

3. The person holding the lease does not pay all rents and penalties due on or before June 30 of the following year.

Code 1950, § 28-124; 1954, c. 352; 1958, c. 183; 1960, c. 517; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-109(17); 1964, c. 393; 1966, c. 684; 1970, c. 726; 1972, c. 644; 1973, c. 14; 1978, cc. 546, 548; 1980, cc. 34, 609; 1984, c. 259; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-621. Effect of proposal for navigation project.

When the Commissioner receives information that the Secretary of the Army has been authorized by congressional action to conduct a survey on a specified navigation improvement project, the Commissioner shall obtain the consent and approval of the Governor before leasing any public oyster-planting grounds which may be required for dredging operations or spoil disposal areas in connection with the project. If after the completion of the survey and submission of the district engineers' report to the Chief of Engineers, United States Army, the proposed navigation improvement project is not authorized, the affected ground will again become available for lease and assignment.

Nothing in this section shall prohibit the renewal of any lease already in existence at the time the Commissioner receives information as to the authorization of a survey.

Code 1950, § 28-124; 1954, c. 352; 1958, c. 183; 1960, c. 517; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-109(18); 1964, c. 393; 1966, c. 684; 1970, c. 726; 1972, c. 644; 1973, c. 14; 1978, cc. 546, 548; 1980, cc. 34, 609; 1984, c. 259; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-622. Consolidation of lease.

Upon written request by a leaseholder, the Commission may consolidate into one lease contiguous leases held by the same leaseholder. The consolidation, upon approval by the Commission, shall be considered a new lease.

Code 1950, § 28-124; 1954, c. 352; 1958, c. 183; 1960, c. 517; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-109(19); 1964, c. 393; 1966, c. 684; 1970, c. 726; 1972, c. 644; 1973, c. 14; 1978, cc. 546, 548; 1980, cc. 34, 609; 1984, c. 259; 1992, c. 836.

Article 3. Assignment, Transfer, Condemnation; Other Grounds.

§ 28.2-623. Excusing rent payment on condemned oyster grounds in the Lynnhaven River and tributaries.

Whenever leased oyster ground in the Lynnhaven River and its tributaries has been condemned by the Commissioner of the State Department of Health for not less than 180 consecutive days, other than regular seasonal condemnation, the lessee, after prior written notice to the Commission, may choose not to pay the rent on the condemned acreage for the year immediately following the year in which the one hundred eightieth day of condemnation occurs. This choice may continue until the condemnation is terminated. However, if the lessee makes such a choice, (i) oysters or clams shall not be taken from such leased area by the lessee for any reason during the condemnation period; (ii) the lease shall continue to run; and (iii) the lessee may renew the lease as provided by law. The Commissioner may not make a new lease assignment or transfer an existing lease that lies wholly or partially within a condemned area unless the applicant executes a release that he will not exercise his rights under this section for the duration of the lease.

1976, c. 557, § 28.1-109.1; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-624. Public rocks, etc., not to be used or staked off; penalty.

It is unlawful for any person to stake, use, or occupy for the purpose of propagating or planting oysters or shells any public oyster bed, rock, or shoal, or any bottom which has not been assigned to him, or any public clamming grounds which have been set aside as such. The officer for that district or any other officer of the Commission shall require any such person to remove all stakes, watchhouses, or other obstructions from the public beds, rocks, or shoals or from any bottom which has not been assigned to him. The failure of any person to remove such stakes or other obstructions within ten days of receiving the written notice is a separate and additional unlawful act and violation of this section. The stakes or other obstructions shall be removed by the officer at the cost of the person unlawfully placing or having placed the stakes or other obstructions.

A violation of this section is a Class 3 misdemeanor.

Code 1950, § 28-125; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-111; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-625. Transfer or assignment.

A person holding an existing lease of oyster-planting ground may transfer or assign all or any part of the lease to another under the following conditions and provisions:

1. The transfer or assignment may be made only to a resident of the Commonwealth, or a firm or corporation authorized by Virginia laws to occupy and hold oyster-planting ground.

2. The application for transfer or assignment shall be in the form prescribed by the Commissioner and shall be filed with the Commission.

3. The Commissioner shall require a new survey if no survey exists of the exact parcel or parcels of grounds to be transferred or assigned.

4. The cost of any new surveys required under this section shall be borne by the person making the transfer, and the cost and fees shall be the same as for surveys made by the Commissioner.

5. The application shall be accompanied by the transfer fee of five dollars if the parcel or parcels are ten acres or less and ten dollars if the parcel or parcels are more than ten acres.

6. The Commissioner shall record in his office the application for transfer or assignment with any correction or new plat he deems necessary.

7. The transfer or assignment shall constitute a new lease of the tract or parcel assigned and any ground remaining under the old lease.

Code 1950, § 28-126; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-112; 1984, cc. 100, 259; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-626. Refund of rent paid under mistake.

Whenever the Commissioner finds that a person has mistakenly paid to the Commonwealth any money that he is not legally obligated to pay, the Commissioner may refund the money. All amounts refunded under this section shall be paid out of the then current appropriations made for the Commissioner's use.

Code 1950, § 28-127; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-113; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-627. Relief from rent.

The Commissioner may forgive ground rent for oyster leases in any area declared a disaster area for oyster culture. A disaster area may be declared when any natural or man-made condition arises which precludes satisfactory culture of oysters in that area. Such declaration for an area shall be made by the Commissioner upon the advice of the Director of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science on or before July 1 of each year, and ground rent due and payable in September following such declaration may be forgiven for the ensuing tax year. Such relief may continue until the Commissioner with the approval of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science declares the area again productive.

Code 1950, § 28-128; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-114; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-628. Condemnation of oyster bottoms and grounds.

The Department of Transportation and any locality shall have the right by eminent domain, to acquire any right or interest, partial or complete, in and to any oyster bottoms, oyster-planting grounds, or interest therein necessary for the purpose of such Department or locality. The procedure in such cases shall conform to the provisions of Chapter 3 (§ 25.1-300 et seq.) of Title 25.1. However, a locality shall not exercise the right by eminent domain to acquire any right or interest, partial or complete, in and to any oyster-planting grounds leased pursuant to Article 1 (§ 28.2-600 et seq.) or 2 (§ 28.2-603 et seq.) of Chapter 6, other than a water-dependent linear wastewater project where there is no practical alternative and the project is subject to permitting under the State Water Control Law (§ 62.1-44.2 et seq.).

The Department of Conservation and Recreation shall have the same right of eminent domain against the same properties as previously described, where the purpose of the condemnation is to provide for a navigational improvement benefiting the Commonwealth and not limited to purposes of any particular locality.

Code 1950, § 28-122.1; 1950, p. 92; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-115; 1989, c. 656; 1992, c. 836; 2003, c. 940; 2014, cc. 162, 591.

§ 28.2-629. Rights of owner to waters within lawful survey.

If any creek, cove, or inlet within the jurisdiction of this Commonwealth flows into or runs through the lands of any person, is less than 100 yards in width at mean low water, and is comprised within the limits of his lawful survey, as defined in § 28.2-1202, such person or other lawful occupant shall have the exclusive right to use the creek, cove, or inlet for sowing or planting oysters or other shellfish. However, in the County of Mathews the owners or lawful occupants of land on both sides of any creek, cove, or inlet, except Horn Harbor, Winter Harbor, and Milford Haven, suitable for the planting of oysters, above the point where such creek, cove, or inlet is 100 yards in width, shall have the exclusive right to use such creek, cove, or inlet for planting oysters. The right of the owners or occupants of land on the opposite sides of such creek, cove, or inlet extends to the middle of the channel.

Code 1950, § 28-132; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-116; 1964, c. 393; 1966, c. 656; 1968, cc. 659, 747; 1972, c. 539; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-630. Rights of riparian owners to build bulkhead or wharf.

All assignments or leases of oyster or clam grounds under this chapter shall be subject to the rights vested in riparian claimants under Article 1 (§ 28.2-600 et seq.) of this chapter and also to the following condition: That any landowner who desires to erect a bulkhead or wharf in front of his property or to open a channel, and who is not a lessee or riparian holder of suitable bottoms for that purpose, shall give the lessee or other holder of oyster or clam grounds in front of his property twelve months' notice of such intention; and upon the expiration of that time, the rights of the lessee or holder of so much of the oyster or clam grounds as are reasonably needed for building the bulkhead, wharf, or channel shall cease. This twelve-month notice and waiting period shall not apply if, at the time the landowner provides notice to the lessee or other holder of the oyster or clam grounds in front of his property, the landowner provides the Commissioner sufficient information describing the dimensions and location of the bulkhead, wharf or channel and the Commissioner subsequently finds, in writing, that the proposed bulkhead, wharf or channel will not adversely impact commercially productive oyster or clam grounds. For purposes of this section "commercially productive oyster or clam grounds" are those areas which can be demonstrated to have (i) suitable substrate for oyster or clam production and (ii) evidence of commercial oyster or clam production within the past three years. If the bulkhead, wharf, or channel has not commenced as specified in the notice within three months after the oyster or clam grounds were vacated, the former lessee or holder shall have the right to resume possession of the oyster or clam grounds he has vacated in favor of such landowners, subject to the provisions of this chapter. Any person constructing a channel under this section shall compensate the lessee of any oyster or clam grounds for all losses or damages including the value of the ground taken for the construction of the channel. The lessee shall have recourse under action of the law in the court of the proper jurisdiction of the Commonwealth of Virginia to recover damages.

Code 1950, § 28-134; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-118; 1992, c. 836; 2000, c. 167.

§ 28.2-631. Grounds for clams.

The provisions in this chapter referring or relating to the leasing of oyster grounds include the right of the Commissioner to lease grounds for planting, growing, storing, and harvesting clams. The Commissioner may use the same application and assignment forms and procedures for leasing grounds for producing clams as provided for leasing grounds for producing oysters.

1962, c. 406, § 28.1-110; 1970, c. 726; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-632. Public clamming grounds.

Any ground in the waters of this Commonwealth not assigned to anyone for planting or bathing purposes may be, on application of twenty or more citizens to the officer assigned to the district in which the land lies, laid off and designated as public clamming grounds; or the Commissioner may do so without such petition, provided in his opinion no oyster interests will suffer thereby and the clams are of sufficient quantity for a person to realize at least 225 clams or $1.50 per day catching and taking clams from such ground. If the ground is laid off, the Commissioner shall designate by stakes the metes and bounds of such ground and also have a plat made, to be recorded in the clerk's office of the county where the ground lies. All costs of surveying, platting, and recording shall be paid by the applicant. Such ground shall be set apart and remain a public clamming ground for the common use of the citizens of Virginia for so long as the Commissioner determines, and shall not be assigned to anyone during such period.

Code 1950, § 28-180; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-162; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-633. Bathing grounds; assignment; rental.

Any person desiring to obtain a location for bathing grounds shall apply to the Commissioner to have the location designated, surveyed, and assigned. An annual rental fee of $7.50 per acre shall be charged for obtaining such a location. The cost for the assignment of bathing grounds shall be three dollars. Any such application, surveying, assigning, and marking shall conform to the law pertaining to oyster-planting grounds. Such licenses shall be for public or commercial bathing grounds only.

If any lessee of bathing ground has his ground or any portion thereof resurveyed or if he reassigns any or all of the ground, the resurvey or reassignment shall not be considered a twenty-year renewal of his lease, or as a new assignment of the ground, but shall be a continuation of the original assignment, subject to all the limitations and conditions under which the ground was originally assigned.

The lessee of any bathing ground, the rent of which is to be paid to the following September of any year, may abandon his holdings at any time without being liable for the payment of the rent for the following year, provided he notifies an officer or the Commissioner in writing of his intention to do so before September 1. This notice, when received by the officer, shall be immediately forwarded by him to the office of the Commissioner.

Code 1950, §§ 28-39, 28-187; 1952, c. 649; 1960, c. 517; 1962, c. 406, §§ 28.1-44, 28.1-118.1; 1984, c. 100; 1986, c. 184; 1992, c. 836.

Article 4. Restrictions.

§ 28.2-634. Nonresidents; taking, planting oysters prohibited; penalty.

If any person other than a resident, as defined in § 28.2-200, takes or catches oysters or clams in any of the waters of this Commonwealth, or in any of the waters under the Commonwealth's jurisdiction, for market or profit, he is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. If any person other than a resident, as defined in § 28.2-200, or a corporation authorized to occupy and hold oyster-planting grounds, rents any oyster-planting grounds or plants oysters or clams in any of the waters of the Commonwealth, or waters under the Commonwealth's jurisdiction, he is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor, and such rental, lease or assignment is void. The burden of proof of residency under this section is the defendant's. This section shall not apply to any oyster-planting ground against which foreclosure proceedings have been instituted or title to which is acquired because of the lessee's death. Any property interest so acquired shall not extend longer than twelve months from the time the title vests.

Code 1950, § 28-139; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-122; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-635. Residents not to be associated with nonresident.

Any resident who is associated for market or profit with any nonresident in taking or catching oysters or clams in any of the waters of the Commonwealth, or in waters under the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth, or in planting oysters or clams, or who knowingly participates with any nonresident in any such business in his name for market or profit, is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. The residence restrictions in this section shall not prevent a resident from owning stock in a corporation in which nonresidents are stockholders, if such corporation is authorized by law to occupy oyster-planting grounds.

Code 1950, § 28-140; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-123; 1983, c. 307; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-636. Leasing of certain bottoms in Rappahannock River prohibited.

No part of the bottom of the Rappahannock River, lying in or near the center of the river and running from the mouth of the river to and including Morattico bar, which is designated on the Baylor survey and resurveys as assignable bottom and is commonly known as "deep water planting grounds," may be leased or assigned. The bottom is declared to be a part of the public oyster beds and rocks of the Rappahannock River.

Code 1950, § 28-201; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-144; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-637. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1993, c. 217.

§ 28.2-638. Authority of Governor to authorize dredging of channel in navigable waters.

When the approval, consent, or authorization of the Commonwealth is necessary or expedient for any person to dredge a channel of any navigable stream, the bed of which is owned by the Commonwealth, for the purpose of deepening, widening, or relocating such channel and making related improvements, the Governor may, on behalf of the Commonwealth, grant such approval upon such terms and conditions as he deems appropriate after the receipt of advisory reports from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, the State Water Control Board, the Commission, the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries, the Director of the Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Director of the Department of Historic Resources, the State Port Authority, and the Commonwealth Transportation Board.

Code 1950, § 28-201.3; 1958, c. 302; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-147; 1964, c. 350; 1989, c. 656; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-639. Certain public oyster rocks in Rappahannock River.

Russ' Rock and Little Carter's Rock are declared to be public oyster rocks, beds, and shoals and unassignable to any person for private use, in the same manner and to the same extent as if the rocks, beds, and shoals had been within the original Baylor survey.

Code 1950, § 28-203; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-149; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-640. Declaring certain grounds in Mobjack Bay public oyster rocks.

The following grounds in Mobjack Bay, in the County of Gloucester, to wit: First, a lot of oyster-planting ground containing 218.75 acres surveyed by Fred E. Reudiger, civil engineer, and assigned to F. W. Darling by George B. Taliaferro, oyster inspector, by an assignment recorded in oyster plat book number 4, page 31, in the clerk's office of Gloucester County, Virginia; second, those portions of a lot of oyster ground surveyed by Fred E. Reudiger, civil engineer, and assigned to J. Weymouth by George B. Taliaferro, oyster inspector, by his assignment recorded in oyster plat book number 4, page 35, in the clerk's office of Gloucester County, Virginia, and a lot of oyster ground surveyed by Fred E. Reudiger, civil engineer, and assigned to S. J. Watson by George B. Taliaferro, oyster inspector, by an assignment recorded in oyster plat book number 4, page 31, in the clerk's office of Gloucester County, Virginia, which 2 portions of the 2 plats adjoin the 218.75-acre lot of oyster ground above described, which was assigned to F. W. Darling and which portions are cut off from the residue of the Weymouth and Watson lots of oyster ground above described, by a line beginning where the boundary of J. Weymouth's ground, which runs north 47°, 32' east, 78.61 chains, intersects the boundary of F. W. Darling's ground, which runs south 42° east, 30 chains, and from this point of intersection running south 42° east, until it intersects with the line of S. J. Watson's ground, which runs south 51°, 26' west, 113.79 chains (these portions of the Weymouth and Watson lots of oyster ground are cut off by the boundary line previously described without regard to acreage; the acreage is estimated not to exceed 50 acres), are declared public oyster rocks, beds, and shoals as if the same had originally been included within the limits and boundaries of the Baylor survey of the public rocks, beds, and shoals in the waters of the Commonwealth, and subject in all respects to the laws of the Commonwealth in relation to public oyster rocks, beds, and shoals, and the taking of oysters. Such grounds shall be subject, also, to the existing rights of any lessees.

Code 1950, § 28-204; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-150; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-641. Declaring certain areas in Hill's Bay, Mathews County, public oyster rocks, beds, and shoals.

The following ground in Hill's Bay on the west side of Gwynn's Island, Mathews County, contained within the following boundaries is declared to be public oyster rocks, beds, and shoals and unassignable to any person for private use: Beginning at corner No. 8, Public Ground No. 5 of Mathews County; thence along Public Ground line to corners Nos. 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14 in a northeasterly direction; thence a due east course to the low-water mark on the west side of Gwynn's Island; thence following the meanders of the low-tide line in a southwesterly direction to corner No. 5 of J. R. Forrest's oyster lease of 2.01 acres; thence following said oyster lease in a westerly direction to corner No. 4 of said lease; thence in a westerly direction to the point of beginning. The oyster lease of O. V. Sparrow's 10.51 acres, near Cherry Point, is excluded from the previously described area.

Code 1950, § 28-204.1; 1954, c. 63; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-151; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-642. Declaring certain other areas in Hill's Bay, Mathews County, public oyster rocks, beds, and shoals.

The following ground in Hill's Bay, Mathews County, contained within the following boundaries is declared to be public oyster rocks, beds, and shoals and unassignable to any person for private use.

The point of beginning is located at the low-tide line on the west side of the Gwynn's Island Bridge, said bridge connecting the mainland and Gwynn's Island; thence following the west right-of-way of said Gwynn's Island Bridge to a point on the south side of Public Ground No. 5, Mathews County; thence along the south side of Public Ground No. 5 in a southwest direction to Public Ground corner No. 2; thence in a generally west direction along said Public Ground corner No. 3; thence in a generally northwest direction along said Public Ground to Public Ground corner No. 4; thence in a generally northwest direction along said Public Ground to Public Ground corner No. 5; thence in a generally northwest direction on the west side of Public Ground No. 5 to a point; thence in a northwest direction along the south side of C. M. Forrest's 4.10-acre oyster ground lease to a point; thence in a northwesterly direction along the southwest side of J. E. Forrest's 10.17-acre oyster ground lease to a point; thence in an easterly direction along the northern side of J. E. Forrest's 10.17-acre oyster ground lease to a point on the south side of Public Ground No. 5, Mathews County; thence in a northwesterly direction along the south side of Public Ground No. 5 to Public Ground corner No. 6; thence in a generally north direction along the western side of said Public Ground No. 5 to Public Ground corner No. 5; thence in a northerly direction along said Public Ground to Public Ground corner No. 4; thence in a northerly direction along the west side of Public Ground No. 5 to a point; thence following the south edge of Shelton Rowe's, Julian Rowe's and Robert Callis' oyster ground lease of 100 acres in a generally west direction to a point, said point being due north of survey station "Burton," located on Burton's Point to low-tide line; thence following the low-tide line in a generally southeasterly direction to the west side of the mouth of Queen's Creek; thence in a southeasterly direction across the mouth of Queen's Creek to a point; thence along the low-tide line in a generally easterly direction to the point of beginning.

Code 1950, § 28-204.1:1; 1958, c. 299; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-152; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-643. Declaring certain areas in Chesapeake Bay, Mathews County, public oyster rocks, beds, and shoals.

The following ground in Chesapeake Bay, Mathews County, contained within the following boundaries is declared to be public oyster rocks, beds, and shoals and unassignable to any person for private use:

Beginning, as a point of reference, at survey station "Sand," located near the south end of Gwynn's Island; thence due east to the low-water mark on the east side of Gwynn's Island to the true point of beginning; thence due east along the south end of Gwynn's Island; thence due east to the low-water mark on the east Public Ground No. 6, Mathews County; thence following the west side of Public Ground No. 6, Mathews County, in a northerly direction to Public Ground corner No. 8; thence following said Public Ground in a northerly direction to Public Ground corner No. 7; thence following said Public Ground in a northerly direction to Public Ground corner No. 6; thence in a northerly direction, following said Public Ground to Public Ground corner No. 5; thence in a northerly direction following said Public Ground to Public Ground corner No. 4; thence in a northerly direction following said Public Ground to Public Ground corner No. 3; thence in a generally west direction following the south side of Public Ground No. 6 to Public Ground corner No. 2; thence in a generally westerly direction following said Public Ground to Public Ground corner No. 1; thence in a southwesterly direction to the intersection of Public Ground No. 5, Mathews County; thence following the northeast side of Public Ground No. 5 in a southeasterly direction to the low-tide line at Cherry Point on the north side of Gwynn's Island; thence following the low tide on the north side of Gwynn's Island to a point; thence following the low-tide line on the east side of Gwynn's Island in a southerly direction to the true point of beginning.

Code 1950, § 28-204.1:2; 1958, c. 204; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-153; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-644. Declaring certain areas near Hole in the Wall, in Mathews County, public oyster rocks, beds, and shoals.

The following ground near Hole in the Wall, Mathews County, contained within the following boundaries is declared to be public oyster rocks, beds, and shoals and unassignable to any person for private use:

1. Beginning at Virginia Marine Resources Commission's survey Station Marsh, located in the marsh on the south side of Hole in the Wall; thence in a northeasterly direction to corner No. 3 of Carroll Lee Forrest and Vernon Rowe, Junior's, oyster lease of 13.02 acres; thence in a northwesterly direction along said lease to corner No. 2; thence along the east side of R. Herbert Callis' lease of 6.69 acres to corner No. 3 of said lease; thence along the north side of said lease in a westerly direction to corner No. 2, said corner No. 2 in on line of Public Ground No. 7, Mathews County; thence in a northerly direction to Public Ground corner No. 11; thence in a northwesterly direction along Public Ground line to a point opposite corners Nos. 8 and 9 of Maywood L. Callis' 24.69 acres; thence in a northeasterly direction to corner No. 9 of said lease; thence to corner No. 10 of said lease; thence in a northeasterly direction to Virginia Marine Resources Commission's survey Station Sand; thence in a due east course to the intersection of Public Ground No. 6, Mathews County; thence following along west side of said Public Ground in a southeasterly direction to a point due east of Station Marsh; thence due west to Station Marsh, or point of beginning.

2. Beginning at the northeast corner of Haufler's survey No. 6565; thence in an easterly direction along the line of Milford Haven to a point which is on Public Ground No. 7; thence in a southerly direction along the boundary line of Public Ground No. 7 to a point; thence due west to a point which is the southeastern corner of Callis Ground No. 7222; thence in a northerly direction along Callis Ground No. 7222 and Callis Ground No. 10447 to a point where the eastern boundary of Callis Ground No. 10447 intersects the eastern boundary of Haufler's Ground No. 6565; thence in a northerly direction to the point of beginning.

Code 1950, § 28-204.2; 1954, c. 111; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-154; 1981, c. 128; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-645. Declaring certain areas in Pocomoke Sound, Accomack County, public oyster rocks, beds, and shoals.

The following area in Pocomoke Sound, Accomack County, contained within the following boundaries is declared to be public oyster rocks, beds, and shoals and unassignable to any person for private use:

Beginning at a point on the low-water mark on the north end of Saxis Island, said point being due south from the low-water mark and marked by a concrete marker designated as survey point "B" on a map of Pocomoke Sound; thence from the true point of beginning at low water following in a southwesterly direction the low-water mark on the northwest side of Saxis Island to a point, said point being the northeast side of Starling Creek; thence southwesterly across the mouth of Starling Creek to a point; thence following the low-water mark in a southwesterly direction to a point on the northeast side of the mouth of Fishing Creek; thence in a generally westerly direction across the mouth of Fishing Creek to a point; thence following the low-water mark around Drum Bay to a point due north of a concrete survey marker named "Drum"; thence due north to Public Ground No. 11; thence easterly to Public Ground corner No. 13; thence southeasterly to Public Ground corner No. 14; thence easterly to Public Ground corner No. 15; thence southeasterly to Public Ground corner No. 16; thence easterly to Public Ground corner No. 17; thence northeasterly to Public Ground corner No. 18; thence northwesterly to Public Ground corner No. 19; thence northeasterly to Public Ground corner No. 1; thence in a northerly direction to Public Ground corner No. 14 of Public Ground No. 9; thence northerly to Public Ground corner No. 15; thence northeasterly to Public Ground corner No. 16; thence northeasterly toward Public Ground corner No. 17 to a point due north to the true point of beginning; thence due south to the point of beginning.

However, nothing in this section shall prohibit the assignment of a portion of such area to riparian owners under Article 1 (§ 28.2-600 et seq.) of this chapter.

Code 1950, § 28-204.3; 1956, c. 135; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-155; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-646. Declaring certain areas in Piankatank River near Stove Point, Middlesex County, public oyster rocks, beds, and shoals.

The following area, in the Piankatank River around and near Stove Point, Middlesex County, is declared to be public oyster rocks, beds, and shoals and unassignable to any person for private use:

Beginning at survey station "R" on extreme southern tip of Stove Point as a point of reference; thence in a southerly direction to the low-water mark on the southern tip of Stove Point; thence in a northerly direction following the low-water mark on the west side of Stove Point to a point due west of survey station "Billy"; thence in a due west course to Public Ground No. 3, Middlesex County; thence in a southerly direction to Public Ground corner No. 6 of said Public Ground; thence in a southerly direction to Public Ground corner No. 5; thence in an easterly direction to Public Ground corner No. 4; thence in a southeasterly direction to Public Ground corner No. 3; thence in a southeasterly direction to a point, said point being on Public Ground No. 5, of Mathews County; thence in a northeasterly direction, following Public Ground No. 5, Mathews County, to a point; thence in a northwesterly direction to Public Ground corner No. 14 of Public Ground No. 2, Middlesex County; thence in a north-northwesterly direction to Public Ground corner No. 13 of said Public Ground; thence in a westerly direction to corner No. 4 of J. T. Ward's 57.48-acre lease; thence in a northerly direction following the west side of said J. T. Ward's lease to corner No. 5 of the hereinabove mentioned lease; thence in a due west course to the low-water mark on the eastern side of Stove Point; thence following in a southerly direction the low-water mark of the east side of Stove Point to the point of beginning.

However, nothing in this section shall affect any oyster ground assignments that are now in effect or prohibit assignment of a portion of such area to riparian owners under Article 1 (§ 28.2-600 et seq.) of this chapter.

Code 1950, § 28-204.4; 1956, c. 142; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-156; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-647. Declaring certain areas near the mouth of the Poquoson River, in York County, public oyster rocks, beds and shoals.

The following ground near the mouth of the Poquoson River in York County, contained within the following boundaries is declared to be public oyster rocks, beds, and shoals and unassignable to any person for private use.

Tract No. 1. Beginning at low-water mark on the extreme east side of Goodwin Islands at a point known as Tues Point; thence following the low-water mark on the eastern side of Goodwin Islands in a general southerly direction to the extreme southern point of said Goodwin Islands; thence in a southerly direction to corner No. 7 of the 27.72 acre oyster lease of C. E., W. T. and J. T. Crockett, H. H. Hansford and S. E. Wescott; thence in a general easterly direction to corner No. 6 of said oyster lease; thence in a southerly direction to corner No. 5 of said oyster lease; thence in a general westerly direction to corner No. 4 of said oyster lease; thence due south to the low-water mark on the east side of Crab Neck; thence following the low-water mark on the east side of said Crab Neck in a general southerly direction to the extreme tip of said Crab Neck, known as York Point; thence in a general south-southwesterly direction to corner No. 3 of Public Ground No. 9, York County; thence in a southeasterly direction along the northeast side of said Public Ground to Public Ground corner No. 4; thence in a general southerly direction on the east side of said Public Ground to corner No. 1 of said Public Ground; thence in a general southeasterly direction to Public Ground corner No. 3 of Public Ground No. 8, York County; thence in a northeasterly direction following the west side of Public Ground No. 8 to Public Ground corner No. 2; thence in an easterly direction along the northern side of Public Ground No. 8 to Public Ground corner No. 1; thence in a southwest direction along the east side of Public Ground No. 8 to Public Ground corner No. 4; thence in a due east course to the low-water mark on the east side of the mouth of Bennett's Creek; thence following the low-water mark in a general easterly direction to Marsh Point, said point is located at the extreme southeast side of the mouth of the Poquoson River; thence in a general northwesterly direction on a line toward Tues Point to a point on the southeast side of Public Ground No. 7, York County; thence in a southwest direction along the southeast side of Public Ground No. 7 to Public Ground corner No. 4; thence in a northwesterly direction along the southwest side of said Public Ground No. 7 to Public Ground corner No. 1; thence in a northeasterly direction along the northwest side of said Public Ground No. 7 to a point; thence following the south line of the oyster ground of C. E. Crockett and A. P. Thomas, said lease containing 12.70 acres, in a general westerly direction to corner No. 3 of said oyster lease; thence following the west side of said oyster lease in a general northerly direction to corner No. 2 of said lease; thence in a northeasterly direction along the northwest side of said oyster lease to a point, said point being located on a line from Tues Marsh to Marsh Point; thence in a northwesterly direction to the low-water mark to Tues Point, or the point of beginning.

Tract No. 2. Beginning at the low-water mark on the extreme east side of Plumtree Point, said point located on the north side of the mouth of Back River, said point is the eastmost point on said side of river; thence in a general north-northwesterly direction toward corner No. 3 of Public Ground No. 7, York County, to a point on the south side of M. F. Quinn's 90.40 acre oyster ground lease; thence in a westerly direction along the south line of M. F. Quinn's oyster lease to a point, said point being located on the southeast side of York County, Public Ground No. 7; thence in a southwesterly direction along the southeast side of Public Ground No. 7, York County, to a point, said point is located along a line from Tues Point to Marsh Point; thence in a general southeasterly direction along the heretofore described line to the low-water mark on Marsh Point, said Marsh Point being the extreme east point of the south side of the mouth of Poquoson River; thence in a general southeasterly direction along the low-water mark to the point of beginning.

Code 1950, § 28-204.5; 1958, c. 175; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-157; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-648. Declaring certain ground in Mobjack Bay, in Gloucester and Mathews Counties, to be public oyster rocks, beds, and shoals.

The following grounds in Mobjack Bay, Gloucester-Mathews Counties, contained within the following boundaries are declared to be public oyster rocks, beds, and shoals and unassignable to any person for private use, in the same manner and to the same extent as if the rocks, beds, and shoals had been within the original Baylor survey:

Beginning at the westmost corner of W. E. Belvin's 79.25 acre oyster ground lease, designated as corner No. 2 of said lease, said point of beginning also being the northmost corner of additional Public Ground area of 1928, Gloucester County (Deep Rock); thence in a northerly direction along the west side of the said Belvin lease to corner No. 1 of said lease, corner No. 1 also being the southmost corner of John Carr's 84.85 acre oyster ground lease; thence in a northwesterly direction along the southwest side of John R. Carr's 84.85 acre oyster ground lease to corner No. 1 of said oyster ground lease; thence in a general northeasterly direction along the northwest side of John R. Carr's oyster lease to corner No. 2 of said lease, said corner also being the westmost corner of W. E. Belvin's 27.71 acre oyster ground lease; thence in a northeasterly direction along the northwest side of W. E. Belvin's oyster ground lease to corner No. 10 of said lease; thence in a southeasterly direction along the northeast side of W. E. Belvin's oyster ground lease to corner No. 6 of said lease; thence in a northeasterly direction to the southwest side of Public Ground No. 2, Mathews County; thence in a northwesterly direction along the southwest side of Public Ground No. 2, Mathews County, to a point, said point being the intersection of an additional area of Public Clamming Grounds, Gloucester County, with Public Oyster Ground No. 2, Mathews County; thence in a southwest course along additional area of Public Clamming Grounds, Gloucester County; thence in a southwesterly direction along the edge of additional area of Public Clamming Grounds in Gloucester County to a point; thence in a southeasterly direction along the additional area of Public Clamming Grounds, Gloucester County, to the point of beginning.

Code 1950, § 28-204.6; 1958, c. 475; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-158; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-649. Acts which remain in force.

The following acts of the General Assembly are continued in force:

Chapter 632 of the Acts of Assembly of 1901-1902, relating to the natural oyster rocks, beds, and shoals in Nomini and Currioman Bays, in the County of Westmoreland.

Chapter 294 of the Acts of Assembly of 1901-1902, declaring certain grounds in the James River, in the County of Isle of Wight, known as Day's Point Long Rock, to be a natural oyster bed, rock or shoal.

Chapter 319 of the Acts of Assembly of 1901, including Surry County within the oyster territory of the Commonwealth, etc.

Chapter 855 of the Acts of Assembly of 1895-1896, and Chapter 263 of the Acts of Assembly of 1897-1898, declaring certain portions of ground in York River to be natural oyster rocks.

Chapter 862 of the Acts of Assembly of 1897-1898, relating to the natural oyster rocks, beds, and shoals in York River in King and Queen County.

Chapter 279 of the Acts of Assembly of 1930, relating to certain natural oyster beds, rocks and shoals in Mathews County.

Code 1950, § 28-205; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-159; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-650. Dredging clams in polluted areas for replanting in public clamming grounds.

The Commissioner may dredge clams or have the clams dredged in polluted areas for the purpose of replanting them in public clamming grounds.

Code 1950, § 28-179; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-161; 1992, c. 836.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of these sections may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.

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